Salisbury High administrators suspended over disciplinary issue

Published 12:10 am Saturday, February 27, 2016

SALISBURY — Two Salisbury High administrators have been placed on suspension, according to Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

A Friday press release stated that Assistant Principal Dr. Michelle Taylor was suspended without pay on Feb. 16 and 17. Salisbury High School Principal Luke Brown was suspended with pay on Feb. 24, 25 and 26.

According to sources, the suspensions are connected to a student disciplinary issue involving Shaleek Williams.

Williams became the focal point of controversy after throwing a punch at a Feb. 12 game between the Salisbury and North Rowan boys basketball teams. After the ensuing confrontation, both teams were suspended from state playoffs by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The Board of Education attempted to appeal the suspension, but was denied by the full association board. On Monday, the school board voted to have its lawyer seek arbitration for the teams, which was denied Tuesday.

Williams was involved in a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, Feb. 11 — the day before the Salisbury-North Rowan game — for an issue that happened several weeks prior, sources said. He was suspended from school for five days, beginning Monday, Feb. 15. Schools were in session for only a half day on Feb. 12.

School policy does not state that suspensions must begin immediately unless the student creates a “direct or immediate threat to other students or staff, or substantially disrupts or interferes with the education of other students or the maintenance of discipline at the school.”

Instead, short-term suspensions are handed down after a hearing with a student and his or her parent or legal guardian.

Brown was hired by Rowan-Salisbury Schools in December 2013, and began his role as Salisbury High principal on Jan. 21 2014. Brown took over the position after the previous principal, Dr. Avis Williams, resigned in September 2013.

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Chairman Josh Wagner said that if the suspensions were discussed by the board, it would have occurred during closed session and he was unable to comment on the issue. As far as Wagner is aware, the suspensions did not extend past the dates provided by the school system.

“That’s all that I know about it,” he said.

“Personnel matters are covered under state personnel laws and are confidential,” School Public Information Officer Rita Foil said in the e-mailed release.

RSS athletic director Dr. Art Paschal, when reached late Friday afternoon, said that being in athletics, the suspensions were not in his “realm of responsibility,” and that he could not comment even if he did have knowledge of the situation.

Sports editor Dennis Davidson contributed to this story.